PENTICTON - Advancing technology makes working out-of-office more and more viable but professionals who use Cowork Penticton know face-to-face contact with like minds is just as important as a high-speed Internet connection.
Described as a shared professional workspace Cowork Penticton has desks, meeting rooms, web connections, a photocopier and more. Among its members are corporate lawyer Daniel Lo, staff from Accelerate Okanagan, several video game developers and marketing gurus.
Cowork Penticton co-founder Jennifer Vincent said these clients collaborate and socialize and come and go as they please or as their work dictates.
The concept of coworking came from American computer programmers working alone. "They missed the sharing of information that happened in an office environment. They gravitated towards coffee shops and over time that became frustrating for coffee shops which started blocking off access to all their power points," she explained.
"Then one guy said on Wednesday nights anyone can come work at my apartment but let's just work together. People started coming. Strangers, friends, co-workers."
Vincent said she had that same desire as the programmer. She and her partner were working from a small office when she realized what she missed was the energy of working alongside others and sharing ideas.
Located in an old church, Cowork takes up three floors with the top and bottom floors containing meeting rooms and workshop areas. The main floor is the hub where most clients work. They bring their own laptops and hook up to the building's power and web connections and pay a monthly or daily fee to do so.
Trina Links-Gowe is a Cowork Penticton customer. She operates TLB Marketing Essentials from wherever she can plug in a laptop and get a web connection. She's been in marketing for 15 years and spent the last four working for herself. When not personally visiting clients or greeting them when they visit Penticton she works at home, at coffee shops and the like. Where she plied her trade was up to her.
The entreprenuer said she considered renting office space at one point but changed her mind when she found out Cowork Penticton had everything she required including that human touch. At any point in the week she can chat with other marketing professionals or share ideas with those building video games a few desks away.
"There's something about having discussions face-to-face," she said.
Vincent echoed her. She remembers talking at a Cowork Penticton coffee machine about her work problems when two people, who overheard her, stepped forward with offers to help.
"I'm talking to people and out of those conversations two people stepped forward and said, 'I've always wanted to hold this workshop and can I lead it? Or I know exactly the right person to fill that gap.'"
"It's a beautiful synergy to be able to help a member to progress their professional pursuits," she said. "The people who come in here are truly amazing and truly community builders."
She also opened a second location, Art House Penticton, which acts like a hub for the community's artistic professionals.
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